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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 2 February 2020  

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  Time to clean and rejuvenate
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
"Spring breathes new life into the world around us." I saw this quote online, and it ties nicely with the official start of spring on March 20.
   I, for one, am over the single digit, biting cold and snow. It’s time for warmer days and longer hours of sunshine.
   You’re thinking, “Hello! We live in Colorado.” I know — my desire and nature’s intent are two different things.
   Charles Dickens, in his 1860 novel “Great Expectations,” wrote, “Spring is the time of the year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.” I think Dickens pretty much nailed Colorado weather.
   All that aside, I learned from the Calendarpedia site that the science community uses two main calendar methods to define the start and end dates of our seasons.
   In the astronomical calendar, the start and end dates of spring are based on the changing position of Earth in relation to the sun — equinoxes and solstices.
   Meteorologists define seasons based on climatic conditions and the annual temperature cycle.
   Thus, the length of the astronomical seasons varies between 89 and 93 days, while the length of the meteorological seasons is fixed at 90 days for winter — 91 days in a leap year.
   There you go! You’re all set for trivia night!
   About this time last year, I wrote about spring cleaning and decluttering your possessions by asking yourself, “Does it spark joy?” Since January, I’ve focused on new habits and routines.
   With spring around the corner and the subtle urge to clean house, perhaps we can look inward and see if there are any habits or thought patterns that need to be cleansed as well.
   In Judie Shepperd Missett’s article, Spring Clean Your Life: New Season Fresh Start, Missett asks, “What kinds of habits, attitudes and influences are you growing in your life's garden? Spring is the time to clean out your mind and emotions, too. Make a conscious effort to rip out weeds of negative patterns, thinking — and perhaps even certain relationships. Replace them with positive seeds that will uplift, inspire and encourage you.”
   Along those lines, Andra is completing a 200-hour yoga teacher training. She intends to utilize her new skills to help veterans use yoga, meditation and mindfulness as a tool to cope with and conquer PTSD through the Yoga for Veterans and the Warriors at Ease programs.
   I volunteered to be Andra’s practice student as she works on her movements, cues and adjustments. Mindfulness has been a recurring coaching point.
   The textbook definition for mindfulness is, “The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are, what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
   It makes more sense when Andra explained it to me as when you are mindful, you move through life with intention and purpose.
   For example, every movement in yoga has a purpose to stretch, strengthen and/or revitalize the body. You exercise to improve your health and live longer. You read to be entertained or gain knowledge.
   Even with five minutes of quiet intention, meditation will provide the opportunity to retreat from daily pressures; stop churning on everything, allow your body to relax, and your mind to rest. In the quiet moments, many find gratitude, answers and solutions to their problems.
   For mindfulness, “Thoughts become words — words become actions — actions become habits — habits become character.” What will you choose to do with intention and purpose?
   Spring is the time for cleaning and rejuvenation. I hope you will find ways to make today better than yesterday and prepare for a brighter tomorrow.
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